Beneath the hedgerow, she disturbed a sparrow. She peered in through the wire mesh of the henhouse knowing she would not find the child there, the chain still attached to the door. She called out but only eerie emptiness responded.
The hand clutching her heart began to squeeze. Running the short length of her yard, she checked the garage door, the driveway gates … both closed, then around the corner of the house where a link fence was supposed to provide security. A corner was pulled back and her fears were realised. The child was gone.
Crying, she dialed the father’s number, then the police. “What does she look like?” they asked and her mind drew a blank. The girl had truly become invisible.
Every parent’s nightmare ended happily, though, for the girl’s intention was only for a short walk. But the fear was real, and it lingers.

Currently unavailable for purchase

A short emotive piece for the Chain project in Flash Fiction here and also based on recent, personal experience.


runnaway, fence, child, link, chain, lost, gone, missing, alkemade


  • Cathryn Swanson
    Cathryn Swansonover 5 years ago

    It sure does linger. I know this feeling and you’ve expressed it so well!
    Off to read the thread now..

  • Ah, the detour sign worked. :o)

    – Anne van Alkemade

  • Clive
    Cliveover 5 years ago

    Fantastic words my friend, well done

  • Thank you Clive. It’s easy to write things like this once lived!

    – Anne van Alkemade

  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 5 years ago

    It is a horrible chilling feeling and you have expressed it so beautifully Anne! Excellent!

  • Arcadia Tempest
    Arcadia Tempestover 5 years ago

    “The hand clutching her heart began to squeeze”……oh yep this says it all. SO glad you included the happy ending……would of been too much of a hang for me being a mum n’ all. So apt in your writing, wonderful.

  • NoeleneThompson
    NoeleneThompsonover 5 years ago

    I’m glad it had a happy ending, too. Nothing much worse than having to search for a young child—(said from experience.)

  • So true Noelene. I figured there’s plenty of parents out there who could relate. And blow me down if she didn’t do it again today, so more security is on order. This time two police units and a fleet of friends found her after 30 minutes at a playground about 2km away. She’s promoting the grey that’s starting to sprout on my head!

    – Anne van Alkemade

  • NoeleneThompson
    NoeleneThompsonover 5 years ago

    How frightening for you. How old is your daughter, if you don’t mind my asking?

  • She’s five. A great age, a challenging one too.

    – Anne van Alkemade

  • NoeleneThompson
    NoeleneThompsonover 5 years ago

    She sounds very spirited and independent. It must be hard to keep one step ahead of her. :)

  • S .
    S .over 5 years ago

    very nice work ! thanks for reading mine !

  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryanabout 5 years ago

    i know this horrible feeling and you delivered it so well .

  • yeah!!!! and this was just the first in a series of four similar incidents. I now have a bolt at the top of the front door and secure fences. sigh.

    – Anne van Alkemade

  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryanabout 5 years ago

    don’t get me started. it’s been a crap day involving a certain ‘difficult’ 4 yr old (his b’day tomorrow) .. let’s just say the transformers costume he was given today by nanny and poppy is now in pieces. he’s worse than a blue heeler.

  • oh nooooo. Bummer. Can I tell you about this arvo? My 6yo went out in the backyard for a little extra “arty saturday” and covered her arms in red poster paint. The bathroom looked like a scene from Psycho. :o)

    – Anne van Alkemade

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